Why I use Facebook only through the browser, not on my phone

Image generated by Dall-E using the prompt, “Make a drawing of the Facebook logo on a smartphone. Make an X over the image.”

First, let me say, I like Facebook. Sure, there are bad parts of Facebook. But for how I use it, I enjoy it. I see what friends are doing. I get a little bit of entertainment from other sources. I post things asking for thoughts. It works pretty nice. However, I use Facebook entirely on my laptop. Never ever on my phone. Here’s why.

1. Avoiding the Temptation to Scroll in Spare Moments
In those brief pauses we all have—like waiting for the kids to get ready in the morning—I choose not to spend that time scrolling through Facebook. It’s about being mindful of how I use these small breaks.

2. I refuse to use Facebook’s algorithm for my stream.
99% of the time I use Facebook, I use the chronological order. It’s SOOOOO much better when sorted chronologically. I can see all the posts people make. Once I reach the end, I’m done. Posts are not repeated. I’m fairly certain the Facebook app doesn’t allow for chronological order.

To view in chronological order, use this URL in your browser: facebook.com/?sk=h_chr

3. Concerns About mobile tracking
To be honest, it’s not usually a big deal for me if apps track my mobile usage. However, for some reason, I’m less comfortable with Facebook doing it. It’s just a personal preference.

4. Enjoying the flexibility of browser use
Lately, I’ve been leaning towards using websites in a browser rather than their app equivalents. Apps have legal terms that don’t allow you to alter what you see. With a browser, you can do things like block ads. You can’t block ads in an app. It’s considered a legal violation, because you are altering the app.

Cory Doctorow of pluralistic.net wrote an excellent piece about how apps are meant to control the users.

More than half of all web-users have installed ad-blockers. It’s the largest consumer boycott in human history.

Zero app users have installed ad-blockers, because reverse-engineering an app requires that you bypass its encryption, triggering liability under Section 1201 of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act. This law provides for a $500,000 fine and a 5-year prison sentence for “circumvention” of access controls.

Beyond that, modifying an app creates liability under copyright, trademark, patent, trade secrets, noncompete, nondisclosure and so on. It’s what Jay Freeman calls “felony contempt of business model

This is why services are so horny to drive you to install their app rather using their websites: they are trying to get you to do something that, given your druthers, you would prefer not to do. They want to force you to exit through the gift shop, you want to carve a desire path straight to the parking lot. Apps let them mobilize the law to literally criminalize those desire paths.

An app is just a web-page wrapped in enough IP to make it a felony to block ads in it (or do anything else that wrestles value back from a company). Apps are web-pages where everything not forbidden is mandatory.

The post continues on and explains much more. If you use apps, I highly recommend you read this article.

5. The ease of typing on a laptop
I often hit the “like” button instead of leaving a comment. However, hitting the “like” button is a conversation killer. Someone makes a thoughtful post, the author hopes people leave real responses. Instead, the reader clicks a button. That “like” button doesn’t leave any words. There is no expression given.

Leaving a real comment is 10,000 times better than hitting the like button. Real words. Real emotions. Typing on a real keyboard allows for more thoughtful and detailed comments.

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